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POSTED January 20, 2012 8:10 p.m.

FOOTBALL

PACKERS' PHILBIN ACCEPTS DOLPHINS' COACHING JOB: MIAMI (AP) — Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has become the Miami Dolphins' seventh head coach in the past eight years.

The Dolphins announced the hiring Friday night and plan a news conference Saturday.

Philbin landed his first head-coaching job less than two weeks after his son drowned in a Wisconsin river. Philbin spent a week away from the Packers, then rejoined the team last Sunday for its divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants.

Philbin has been with Green Bay since 2003, serving as offensive coordinator since 2007. Coach Mike McCarthy called the plays, but Philbin put together the game plan.

The Dolphins' top choice, Jeff Fisher, turned them down a week ago to become coach of the St. Louis Rams.

 

BREES: FOCUS ON KEEPING SAINTS TOGETHER: METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Drew Brees says he would be "beyond stunned" if he and the New Orleans Saints don't come to an agreement on a contract extension during this offseason, echoing comments by coach Sean Payton this week.

Brees says his focus is keeping the team together. He doesn't believe his next deal will prevent the Saints from bidding for some other key members of their record-setting offense who will become free agents.

Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem are in line to enter free agency this winter unless they agree to an extension with New Orleans.

In 2011, Brees set NFL single-season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a completion percentage of 71.2.

 

RAMS TO PLAY NFL GAMES IN LONDON FOR NEXT 3 YEARS: LONDON (AP) — The NFL says the St. Louis Rams have agreed to play regular-season games in London for the next three years, first facing the New England Patriots in 2012.

The Rams and Patriots will play Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium, the sixth year in a row the league will play regular season games in the British capital.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says "we are confident that having the Rams host one game in the UK in each of the next three seasons will allow us to better serve the growing popularity of our sport beyond the borders of the United States."

 

BASEBALL

INDIANS TRADE FOR RHP KEVIN SLOWEY: CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians have acquired right-hander Kevin Slowey from Colorado, a move prompted by Fausto Carmona's arrest in the Dominican Republic.

The Indians sent reliever Zach Putnam and cash to the Rockies for Slowey, who pitched for Minnesota last season and was traded to Colorado on Dec. 6. Slowey split last season between the Twins and Triple-A Rochester. He went 0-8 in the majors and spent time on the disabled list.

Slowey give the Indians an experienced arm and a possible option in the rotation in case Carmona, who has been alleged of using a false identity to play in the U.S., can't pitch. Police say Carmona's real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia

Putnam spent most of last season at Triple-A Columbus, where he went 6-3 with a 3.65 ERA.

 

GARDNER AND YANKEES AGREE TO $2.8 MILLION DEAL: NEW YORK (AP) — Outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $2.8 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.

The agreement announced Friday was at the midpoint between the $3.2 million Gardner had asked for earlier in the week and the $2.4 million the Yankees had offered.

Gardner hit .259 last season with 19 doubles, seven homers, 36 RBIs and 49 steals, which tied Oakland's Coco Crisp for the AL lead.

Two Yankees remain in arbitration: catcher Russell Martin and left-handed reliever Boone Logan.

 

AP SOURCE: PENA AGREES TO $7.25M DEAL WITH RAYS: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that slugger Carlos Pena has agreed to a $7.25 million, one-year contract to return to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the club had not announced the agreement.

Pena played with the Rays from 2007-10, helping them reach the playoffs twice before signing as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs for $10 million last season.

Pena is the second major addition to the middle of the Rays batting order this winter. The team signed free agent Luke Scott last week.

 

MOTORSPORTS

NASCAR HALL OF FAME WELCOMES DIVERSE CLASS: CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomed its most diverse class to date Friday night, when Dale Inman opened the ceremony as the first crew chief to be inducted.

Inman was introduced by seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, a member of the first Hall of Fame class. Inman crew chiefed Petty to all his titles, and won an eighth with Terry Labonte.

Also in the third Hall of Fame class was pioneer team owner Glen Wood, modified driver Richie Evans and three-time champions Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough. Evans was killed in a 1985 accident at Martinsville.

NASCAR chairman Brian France presented the four living inductees with Hall of Fame jackets prior to the ceremony, and Waltrip grew emotional as soon as he got on stage.

 

SOCCER

WAMBACH, DEMPSEY VOTED TOP US FOOTBALL PLAYERS: CHICAGO (AP) — Abby Wambach has been voted the U.S. Soccer Federation's female athlete of the year for the fifth time, matching Mia Hamm's record. Clint Dempsey has been voted top male athlete for the first time since 2007.

The USSF also said Friday that Brek Shea and Sydney Leroux were the top young athletes.

Wambach won previously in 2003, 2004, 2007 and last year. Hamm won from 1994 to 1998. Wambach scored four goals at the Women's World Cup, including one in the 122nd minute in the semifinals that forced penalty kicks and enabled the Americans to reach the final, where they lost to Germany.

Dempsey scored three goals at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Playing for Fulham, he passed Brian McBride to become the highest-scoring American in the Premier League.

Online votes counted for half the total, with the rest from media and USSF representatives.

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